Bong Go refiles bill to add more teeth to anti-child abuse law

Sen. Bong Go has refiled a measure to amend Republic Act 7610 or the “Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination Act” to strengthen the country’s laws on child abuse.

Senate Bill 1188 seeks to amend Section 5 (b) of the Anti-Child Abuse Law on the penalty for persons engaging in lascivious conduct or sexual activity with minors under 12 years old.

The proposed amendment will increase the penalty to reclusion temporal in its medium period to reclusion perpetua for any individual found violating the law under the provision.

In the present law, lascivious acts against a minor below 12 years old are penalized with reclusion temporal in its medium period, while the same act committed against a child above 12 years old but below 18 is penalized with reclusion temporal in its medium period to reclusion perpetua.

In other words, the penalty is lower when the victim is younger.

Go cited a 2019 Supreme Court case, People v. Tulagan, which called for “corrective legislation” to address the incongruent penalties.

“Mariin po nating tinututulan ang pang-aabuso sa ating mga kabataan. Kaya naman po isinusulong ko ang panukalang ito sa Senado upang masiguro na protektado ang ating mga kabataan laban sa mga ganitong pang-aabuso,” Go said in his previous statements.

“Ang kabataan po ang pag-asa ng ating bayan. Gawin po natin ang lahat upang proteksyunan sila laban sa mga taong may masamang intensyon sa kanila,” he continued.

Go welcomed the enactment of RA 11648, which raises the age for determining statutory rape from “below 12 years old” to “below 16 years old,” as an important step in the fight against sexual violence and exploitation.

The amendment to the Anti-Rape Law of 1997 is in line with the recommendation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child to determine a more appropriate age for sexual consent.

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